January 27, 2019
Quirino Grandstand, City of Manila

On 27 January 2019, DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu and DILG Secretary Eduardo Año spearheaded the “Battle for Manila Bay,” a program which aims to clean up the polluted bay with the help of local governments and government agencies. On the same day, Laguna Lake Development Authority, lead by General Manager Jaime Medina, did their part in support of the program by issuing notices of violations (NOV) cease and desist orders (CDO), and ex-parte orders to several establishments in the Manila Bay area; this is the result of their failure to confirm with the inspection and sampling of their waste water discharge conducted by LLDA on 11 January 2019.

The test results of the waste water samples from these establishments show that they do not conform with the General Effluent Standards which specifies the acceptable level of Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD), among other parameters, found in waste water discharge. Which means that these establishments are discharging too much pollutants for the bay to handle. General Manager Jaime Medina has warned that aside from being issued with NOVs, ex-parte orders, or CDOs, these establishments could also lose their mayor’s permit and other environmental permits granted to them.

As of 19 February 2019, LLDA has already issued thirty-five NOVs, twelve ex-parte orders, and sixteen CDOs. Some establishments, however, have already managed to comply to the requirements. During a press conference held on 04 March 2019 at the LLDA compound, LLDA has announced that the cease and desist order issued to some establishments near Manila Bay has been temporarily lifted. Temporary lifting orders (TLO) were issued to Gloria Maris Shark’s Fin Restaurant, San Miguel by the Bay, and Jollibee (Biopolis Branch). These TLOs were issued after the said establishments have complied to the requirements stipulated by LLDA. Having been issued with TLOs, these establishments are now capable of implementing their pollution control programs which should eventually lead to full compliance to the General Effluent Standards.

After the lapse of the 3-month grace period of the TLO, the LLDA will determine whether to grant any request for the TLO extension, dismissal of pending case for full compliance with its regulatory requirements, or reimposition of the CDOs for failure to meet the obligations stated in the TLO.

One establishment, Aristocrat, had its case fully dismissed after successfully complying to the requirements of LLDA: they have fixed some of their pipes which were tapped to their storm drains which eventually flow to the Manila Bay. They have redirected these pipes to the proper discharge route through Maynilad sewer lines.

In spite of the issuance of TLOs and dismissal, LLDA warns that these establishments and all that are included within LLDA administrative jurisdiction will still be subjected to meticulous and continuous scrutiny to ensure their strict compliance. LLDA hopes that all establishments issued with NOVs, CDOs, and ex-parte orders would soon comply to ensure the continued rehabilitation of the Manila Bay and surrounding water systems.